December 14, 2016

BW photograph of a gap opening between the old and new sections of the Industrial Canal in New Orleans in 2008.

Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Uncertainty.  Even the sound of the word brings about a sense of foreboding.

In 2013, a large iceberg calved from the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica.  As glaciologists continued to monitor the glacier, it became clear that a crack had formed much further inland-please read the linked article as it describes the dynamics at play between the warming of the oceans and the Antarctic ice.  These same issues are at work on the Greenland ice sheet as well.  The prediction at the end of the article could be used as the very definition of uncertainty on several different levels, including the impact on coastal cities.

Such developments increase the level of concern regarding the incoming administration’s climate change policy.  Earlier, a questionnaire was sent to staff at the Department of Energy seeking information about employee work on climate-related issues (click the “74-point questionnaire” link within the report to read the questions).  The president-elect has discussed the curtailing of NASA’s climate change research.  Finally, various news sources have reported on the selection process for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  It is important to recognize, as does this report from NPR, that the president-elect has selected several nominees for posts whose views run counter to the department for which they would be in charge.  Uncertainty certainly reigns here-it is not clear how many of these appointments will make it through Congressional hearings, although it is important to remember that both houses of Congress are controlled by Republicans; and it is not clear how much/many of the incoming agenda/viewpoints espoused by these candidates will be accomplished.  Where the term does not apply is the clarity that comes from understanding that the next four years will be quite different from the previous administration as far as the overall environment is concerned.

And that is the point, especially with regard to climate issues.

In time, the uncertainty will be resolved.

The planet will be the final arbiter.

Take care.

NOTE:  The above photograph displays a gap between the old and new sections of the repaired Industrial Canal seawall in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.  The photograph was made in 2008-the Industrial Canal was breached during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which resulted in catastrophic flooding for those living in the Lower 9th Ward.